20 Creative and Repurposed Kitchen Storage Ideas

December 6th, 2010 - 

It’s quite a blessing that there are so many creative and innovative ways to store things in the kitchen. With a fresh take and a will to repurpose, you can create an eclectic, functional kitchen space with a variety of different elements—some of which you never thought would end up in the kitchen!

So, what kinds of things can be reused for kitchen storage?

For utensil storage: 
Card catalog drawers

Empty cans
Flower pots

For linens: 
Vegetable crates
Another dresser!
Vintage silver hooks

For a kitchen island: 
A dresser as a kitchen island
A salvaged industrial table
A Lego sculpture
File cabinets and a butcher block
A library card catalog
More dressers!
An antique woodworker’s table
A lab bench

For dishes, pots and pans: 
A vintage armoire
Chicken coops

For everything else: 
Vintage Airline Food Carts
Card catalog drawer
An IKEA white EXPEDIT-like bookshelf
Test tubes for spices

10 Simple Uses for Spaghetti Jars

December 6th, 2010 - 

After a thorough cleaning and de-labeling, a simple spaghetti jar has many great uses. See our 10 favorite ways to reuse them below the jump, and share your own tips!

1. Water for the dog at the dog park: our dog gets exhausted from all the play, and if BPAs aren’t good for humans, they’re probably not good for her either.
2. A drink shaker or cold drink storage: add some lime juice, fresh ginger, basil or some cucumber to a jar of water, put the lid on and give it a little shake. Then stash in the fridge until you need some refreshment, or use one to make your cold-brew coffee!

3. Breakfast to go: add oatmeal, dried fruit and a little flaxseed to a jar and toss in your pack. Once you’re at work, at some hot water, mix well and enjoy.
4. Leftovers: instant non-plastic, non-leaching, non-staining, BPA-free container for food. Great for soups.
5. Storage of bulk foods: re-use what you’ve got for storing sugar, flour, grains, rice, etc. from your local grocer’s bulk food section.
6. Organization: during our ongoing green renovation, we’ve amassed various screws and nails of all sizes. The jars help keep things organized, are very durable and clear so you can see what’s inside.
7. Gifts: we had an explosion of okra this summer. We shipped off our little darlings in these jars to our happy neighbors.

8. Make your own flavored olive oil: fill a jar with oil, add some herbs like rosemary or lemon verbena, cap tightly and let sit for a few days. Then enjoy over salad or on pasta.
9. Ribbon or string/yarn/twine storage: cut a hole in in the top for a twine dispenser or slit for ribbon dispenser.
10. Piggy bank: cut a slit in the lid, decorate with a ribbon or recycled wrapping paper, and let the cents add up.

New Uses for Old Jars

December 6th, 2010 - 

I have to admit that I have been quite slow to jump on the “reuse” bandwagon when it comes to food packaging. Childhood cafeteria memories of sheepishly eating leftover spaghetti out of yogurt containers while friends showed off enviable prepackaged goods like “lunchables” and “snack-size Doritos” left their mark. However, time has healed many insecurities, and I’ve come to appreciate many thrifty ideals gleaned from my granola-nut parents. So much so, that I’m now guilty of selecting food goods based on the decorative weight of their containers for future uses. Glass jars clearly take the cake. Here are some reasons to save a few…

– Candle-filled jars outdoors make magical floating chandeliers. For a helpful how-to for achieving this look, check out Martha Stewart’s instructions. They also make beautiful, simple center pieces for casual al fresco dining.
– Suspended and filled with a bit of bait, they also make creatively stylish fly catchers, as demonstrated in Michele and Brad’s recent house tour. For instructions on how to create your own fly trap, click here.
– This idea is not new, but it never fails to win my heart. There are so many gorgeous options for flower containers found right in the pantry that I don’t think I will ever buy a clear vase again.
– Backyard BBQs don’t have to mean mountains of disposable plastic cups. Jars are hardy, stylish alternatives.
– Time capsules for vacation memories! We love this idea from Sherry of This Young House. Inspired by a mason jar
collection in a Pottery Barn catalog, she decided to display her vacation memories by filling and labeling jars with mementos from places she and her husband visit.
– I decided to disband our “junk drawer” a long time ago because no drawer organizer, however clever, could seem to keep it from becoming a chaotic jumble of keys, pens, batteries, etc. So I love Martha Stewart‘s idea of stashing small items like this sewing kit together in clear, not to mention cute, containers. For a how-to, check out her site’s instructions. I could see this being a perfect solution for a craft room shelf where various craft supplies are grouped by type and jarred candy shop style.
– Antique mason jars are often pretty enough to display on their own too.